The social network giant Meta, Facebook’s parent company, suffered a setback in European justice on Tuesday where it disputes the ban imposed by the German competition policeman on the use of users’ personal data.
A competition authority “may, in the exercise of its powers, take into account the compatibility of a commercial practice with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)” in force in Europe, believes in his opinion the Advocate General at the Court of Justice of the EU Athanasios Rantos. The Advocate General’s conclusions are not binding on the Court of Justice, but this court often follows them when pronouncing its judgment.
Meta collects data from services other than Facebook, such as Instagram and WhatsApp, as well as from third party websites visited by users. The German Federal Competition Authority has prohibited Meta from implementing this policy and ordered it to cease these practices.
His argument: the processing of the data in question does not comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and therefore constitutes an abuse of Meta’s dominant position on social networks. Meta, for its part, disputes this jurisdiction attributed to the competition police officer and challenged that decision before the German court in Düsseldorf, which referred the case back to the European judge.
The following sentence could validate a recurrent European criticism against Gafam, namely the controversial use, even uncontrolled, of users’ personal data. In 2018 Brussels erected a garrison with the introduction of the GDPR, which has established itself as a global reference point in this sector.
Companies must seek the consent of citizens when requesting their personal data, inform them of the use that will be made of it and allow them to delete the data. However, according to the Advocate General, the mere consultation of websites and applications up to the activation of the selection buttons integrated in them does not constitute consent by the user to the use of their personal data.